This Is What Being Fantastically Fit At 60 Looks Like
Sometimes you need a little reminder that—as clichéd as it may be—age ain't nothing but a number. That the only thing stopping you from going out there and doing whatever it is you really want to do is, well...you. These 8 amazing women prove that pursuing passions (rock climbing and backcountry skiing!), exploring the world (running through the Sahara!), and embracing adventure (swimming across the English Channel!) will keep your body vibrant, your mind quick, and your life filled with joy. Isn't it time you went after your dream?
Meet Bev Pressman, 65, Eagle River, AK/Donnelly, ID
The petite Pressman, a retired literacy instructor and medical practice manager, divides her time between homes in Alaska and Idaho. Having just wrapped up a 2-week rafting trip on the Kopowruk River in northern Alaska, Pressman says she used to curse her compact, powerful physique. "Especially my legs!" But it's her build that allows her to run, bike, hike, and, of course, complete 14-day rafting trips.
MORE:Surprising Signs You'll Live To 100
Pressman and husband Scott met at the University of Oregon, and immediately began rafting and backpacking, beginning their lifelong pursuit of outdoor adventures. Because she grew up in a family of six siblings, had three kids of her own, and now has four grandchildren, Pressman has always placed a lot of importance on family. She looped in some of her family to retrace the 500-mile Camino pilgrimage across northern Spain. She and Scott spent a year traveling around the world by bike.
Depending on the time of year, Pressman's activities can include skiing, rowing on shells or rafts, or climbing the sheer face of a mountain. She says she wards off "chicken wing triceps" and fat by getting in activity five times a week. As a result, her strong body has helped her deal with and recover from health issues including macular degeneration, arthritis, and spinal stenosis.
Her stay-fit secret: Just keep moving. "I get irritable and antsy without time to exercise," says Pressman. "For 40 years it's meant so much: It's been my alone, meditative time; a chance to get caught up with friends; and the opportunity to share adventures with my husband. Plus, it's my weight control so I can sneak animal crackers!"
MORE: Your 10 Biggest Walking Pains, Solved
Meet Louise Cooper, 61, West Hills, CA
It takes a special kind of person to do a marathon a month after completing chemo. South African native Louise Cooper has done that, and much more, such as running through the Sahara and up the 28,000-foot Mont Blanc in Switzerland. And just 5 months after that post-chemo marathon, Cooper placed second in a 135-mile ultra-marathon through Death Valley, CA.
With more than 70 marathons and seven Ironman competitions under her belt, Cooper has definitely set herself apart. She started as a runner, then began doing triathlons and ultra-marathons, and then switched to adventure racing. And just to spice up the mix, the 5'2" owner of four rescue dogs mixes in international expedition racing and mountain climbing.
The biggest challenge the divorced schoolteacher and race director has faced is breast cancer—twice. In 1998, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease; at the age of 44, Cooper was told she had 2 years to live. She lucked into treatment with an experimental new drug (coincidentally developed by a close friend) that had been submitted for FDA approval. As she healed, she managed to keep teaching, gleaning a sense of normalcy plus energy and strength from her students. "When you lose control over your body with a disease like cancer, you can still keep control of your mind," she says.
MORE:10 Quotes That Will Inspire You To Start Walking
Continuing to focus on the needs of those around her helped Cooper get through a second bout with cancer. In 2013, a new tumor led to a double mastectomy and chemo, which didn't wrap up until December 2014. The surgery and treatment didn't stop her—it barely slowed her down. "I don't give up, and even when injured or ill, I force myself out there."
Rather than obsess over her own health battle, Cooper put her energy into caring for her father. "My dad was undergoing treatment for cancer at the same time, and I needed to take care of him," she says. "I barely had time for me." She also works for Project Athena, a nonprofit that raises money and awareness for women who've suffered life setbacks. The organization finds ways for them to accomplish their athletic, adventurous goals by providing necessities like travel expenses, equipment, and entry fees.
Her stay-fit secret: Think of activity as more than exercise. "I just love the way I feel after a workout, I love the social aspect of working out with friends, and I love the way it makes me look," says Cooper. "I think my motivation is intrinsic, and I'm doing it for the right reasons, for myself as opposed to pleasing others. Perhaps that is the reason I keep going when others might give up."
MORE: If You Buy Meat And Eggs At Walmart, You Need To Read
THE LONG-DISTANCE SWIMMER
Meet Sarah Dunstan, 61, Lynchburg, VA
Former critical care nurse and EMT Sarah Dunstan finds her joy swimming in open water. Dunstan spent 8hours in August 2013 swimming 14 miles—two-thirds of the way—across the English Channel, before she had to retire. Remarkably, she's heading back to England to give it another shot this August—but this time as part of a six-woman relay. If they make it, they'll set a record as the oldest relay team to cross the Channel.
Dunstan swam on a local team in her youth, but then life intervened, and she didn't resume the sport until she joined a local Masters team at 56. After a series of triathlons and an Ironman, she journeyed to Spain in April 2013 for cold-water training in preparation for her Channel attempt. "My body has served me well and allowed me to go places and do things that, as a youth, I would never have dreamt possible at my age," she says.
The Channel swim led to a shoulder injury that required rotator-cuff surgery. During her recovery, when she wasn't certain whether she'd be able to swim again, Dunstan drew on stories of others beating adversity. "I am most inspired by those people who have overcome some degree of disability to return to the activity that they love." Now that she’s back, she's thrilled more than ever with her broad, swimmer's shoulders: "They identify me as a swimmer, and that makes me very proud."
Her stay-fit secret: Dunstan cross-trains and spends as much time as she can outdoors. Her home in central Virginia—which she shares with her husband, an orthopedic surgeon—is near the Appalachian Trail and Shenandoah National Park. She hikes there often with her friends, who are also athletically inclined. "One of them rides her bike 120 miles to see her granddaughter!"
MORE: 10 Little Things Connected Couples Do
Meet Ellen Stein, 62, Brooklyn, NY
What's top of mind for powerlifting champion Ellen Stein? Never mind that people want to ask her how much she can lift, or how she maintains her amazing body: She'd prefer everyone know that she loves cats and is involved in animal rescue. No question that's important, but so is her excellence as a lifter—she can deadlift 429 pounds.
Stein says she has always been fit, having practiced ballet as a teen and participated in long-distance running in her 30s. When she didn't make the 1993 New York City Marathon, a race she'd run four times before, she ended up joining a Gold's Gym and discovering powerlifting. She noticed a bunch of big guys covered in baby powder and chalk in the gym corner. They were doing the three exercises that compose the powerlifting discipline: squats, bench press, and deadlifts. "It looked like fun and I figured I'd give it a try." To say that she took to the sport is an understatement. She has competed in the prestigious Olympia lifting competition, holds national and world records, and is a seven-time International Powerlifting Federation Masters world champion.
Her stay-fit secret: Stein's philosophy is that strength is empowering. "I enjoy being healthy and in shape. It's not a chore to go to the gym or to be active. It's a lifestyle for me, and it's inspired by my dad who owned a gym back in the '60s." An advocate of eating properly and getting lots of shut-eye, Stein is quick to mention that there are days when she'll sleep until noon. For women interested in strength training, Stein advises getting a reputable trainer and seeing a nutritionist. Stein tells the clients she trains that, as long as their form is good, "don't be afraid to lift heavy and do less cardio." You can see more of her at her website kettlebellen.com.
MORE: 10 Silent Signals You're Way Too Stressed
THE WAVE RIDER
Meet Margaret King, 62, Kula, Maui, HI
Standup paddleboarder and former classical pianist Margaret King, 62, has competed in the famously rough Maliko paddleboard race on Maui's North Shore. She's also crossed the windy, 27-mile Pailolo Channel twice, achieving the distinction of being the oldest competitor at 61—and she plans to do the crossing again this summer. Even with that kind of stamina and athleticism, she calls herself a late bloomer. She downplays the experience of her early years on the college ski team at the University of Denver. "I didn't play any other team sports growing up. There are so many more opportunities for young women today!" she marvels.
The Cortland, New York, native graduated with a music teaching degree in 1976 and moved to Hawaii to be with her now-husband. "When I came to Maui, I was overweight and a smoker." She ditched the cigarettes and was lured by water sports, including windsurfing, surfing, and kiteboarding with her son. The desire to excel at windsurfing inspired her to lose weight and build strength while she worked on her skills. King went on to pick up two windsurfing titles in wave and slalom events. Along the way she became an aerobics and fitness teacher, and she's led classes for 25 years.
The 5'7" King is reflective about body image. "I've struggled with weight control issues all of my life. I'm not thin, but I consider myself healthy." She eats in moderation and chooses organic veggies, fruits, and meats, while limiting processed and junk foods. "We have kale in our garden and a freezer full of pheasant and venison because of my hubby's excellent hunting and gardening skills," she says.
Her stay-fit secret: Strength train! King loves paddleboarding, but she also incorporates Crossfit-style programs for strength and to avoid injuries. "I've been injury-free for 2 years now."
MORE: 11 Highly Effective Solutions For Sciatica
THE BACKCOUNTRY GUIDE
Meet Niki LeClair, 61, McCall, ID
Tracking down Niki LeClair can be a challenge, since she's often out of cell-phone reach—for example, when she's heading out to lead a 6-day canoeing trip. That’s the life of a wilderness river guide and the only female director of a US backcountry snowcat-skiing program. "These are jobs in which fitness is mandatory," as she puts it. In the summertime, she might be guiding a fishing trip in the River of No Return area in central Idaho with no roads to be found anywhere. In winter, she searches out pristine ski runs of deep powder snow.
Guided by her active mom, LeClair began skiing at the age of 5. As she got older, she dreamed of leading backcountry helicopter-ski trips. "But there was no room for women guides back then," she says. Although skiing was always her first love, growing up next to the Colorado River inspired a love of fishing and horseback riding, as well. "In our community, with horses and mountains, it was easy to be active. My mother kept my brother and me outside and healthy," something LeClair says she notices a lot of parents don't do today.
Becoming a river guide was a fluke; a friend with a multiday-trip company needed help, and she stepped up to the challenge. "The trips are awesome, out there in the middle of nowhere. You get to know people over 6 days and start to develop relationships."
Her stay-fit secret: One thing LeClair has noticed is that she has to work harder to stay in the same shape as when she was younger. Though she mountain bikes, does Pilates, and hikes 1.5 to 2.5 hours three to four times a week, she now also works with a personal trainer to keep her body healthy and to balance out the demands of rowing all summer and skiing all winter. LeClair knows that she's in an enviable position: "I'm so lucky to be able to do what I love."
MORE: 8 Things That Happen When You Finally Stop Drinking Diet Soda
Meet Paula Adams, 65, Jasper, GA, and Jasper, FL
As a yoga teacher, Paula Adams doesn't believe she's getting older, but rather "chronologically superior." (And yes, she manages to live in two different cities with the same name.) Her fitness excellence stems from her dedication: "In a typical week I try to work out with weights three times a week, do some type of cardio two to three times a week, and practice yoga three to four times a week. Because we travel a lot, the emphasis will change, but I try to keep the triangle of strength, endurance, and flexibility as a guideline." However, yoga is her primary focus and helps keep her sane in her busy life of raising cattle on a farm.
Adams's passion for fitness started when, at 23, she quit smoking, got a job at a fitness center, and began reading nutrition and health books on her lunch breaks. Yoga stood out for its ability to increase flexibility, build strength, and offer stress relief, and she began practicing at home, working toward her teaching certification while also becoming a certified fitness instructor. During her career as an elementary and middle school teacher, her focus turned to biking and running. But yoga has always been her favorite. "I am totally sold on the benefits I've derived—like feeling great without needing any daily medications," she says.
Her stay-fit secret: Adams's varied regimen has some upsides, starting with youthful appearance. Another is the pals she's met from other disciplines. "Over the years I've made some wonderful friends while jogging. We've gotten to talk literally hundreds of miles." That's why she recommends finding buddies who can keep you motivated and accountable while making workouts more fun. Something else that's important? "Look for ways to build fitness into your daily routine. Fine-tuning posture while walking or sitting can be challenging and engages the core muscles." And challenge your balance whenever possible, she says. "Try standing on one leg to put on socks and tie shoes. The possibilities are endless."
MORE: 6 Moves That Target Stubborn Cellulite
THE ENERGIZER BUNNY
Meet Janice Andrew, 67, Winthrop, WA
Half-marathons, 60-mile bike rides: These are part of dynamo Janice Andrew's regular routine. To stay ready, she does 6-mile runs almost daily. When the snow melts, she bikes three to four times a week. It sounds like the exhausting schedule of a teen with boundless energy, but she'll be 68 this August, and people often stop to tell her that she's in great shape. (Learn how to get better with age in the book by marathoner Margaret Webb.)
This mother of three worked as a high school administrator in Anacortes, WA, for 20 years, and her husband was a high school teacher. The family's school-based schedule allowed for plenty of active time. "Summers were spent hiking and biking with our kids." She thinks that fitness-oriented lifestyle is partly why her now 40-year-old daughter—who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis—relies on running, biking, swimming, and teaching cycling classes to help manage her condition. Her daughter’s resilience motivates mom in turn. "There are days when she is in a little more pain, but still works out with a smile," Andrew says. "That makes me just want to keep going as long as I can."
Her stay-fit secret: Andrew credits her efforts to keep fit with a heightened sense of self-esteem and, consequently, happiness. "I look forward to some form of exercise every day," she says, "even if it is only a brisk walk.
Video: Be'lakor - Stone's Reach [Full Album]
Know Your Feet And How To Take Care Of Them At 40
How to Get Curly Hair Without a Perm
Celebrity Tributes To Bruce Forsyth Reveal Lovely Things We Didn’t Know About The TV Legend
How to Make New York Giants Jello Shots
Stylish Outfits To Make Your Puffer Jacket Look Cool
How to Be Environmentally Friendly with Ease
Heres a refresher on how to handle chicken safely
Nutty Cranberry Bread Mix
Robert Isn’t The Only Pattinson Who’s Got The X Factor
Beauty Recipe: Get the Perfect PartyLook
Pickled Heirloom Carrots
How to Install DD WRT on Your Router
How to Make Thin Lips LookFuller
How to Move Overseas from Australia
How to Cook Adobong Manok